Graduation Year

2020

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Char Miller

Reader 2

Nancy Neiman

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2019 Anne Shalamoff

Abstract

The relationship between humans and our canine companions goes back tens of thousands of years but commercial pet food is a relatively new phenomenon that has existed for less than two hundred. In a world of automation, mass-production, and global trade, factory scraps have replaced table scraps as the staple diet for dogs. Health issues, recall scares, changing human-dog relationships, and other social and political factors prompted dedicated pet owners to question the mysterious ingredients in their dog’s food and seek alternatives to mainstream kibble. This trend was halted by a report published in the summer of 2018 by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration citing an ongoing investigation into a potential link between boutique, exotic, and grain-free dog food diets and canine dilated cardiomyopathy, a rare but deadly heart disease. Despite a financial conflict of interest and the use of biased data in the report, pet owners have changed their purchasing habits in response to the FDA’s publication. This thesis explores the past, present, and future of canine nutrition while considering the roles of scientific expertise, corporate power, and government complacency.

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